MAKE subscriber Rich Gilbank of Toronto, ON wrote in to share this project:
Anthros is a project I began working on as my fourth-year university thesis project for New Media at Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada). It uses open source tech (OpenFrameworks, Arduino) to make large tentacle-like nodes follow a user through a space. It was shown at Meta 2010, our thesis project show, in Arta Gallery at the distillery district of Toronto.
The system is run off of a computer tucked away behind a wall. A webcam mounted on the ceiling above the piece is aimed down to see the field of people and tentacles. The computer processes this video stream using OpenFrameworks, ofxOpenCv, and the software written on top of these for managing tentacle positions and calculations. The computer then outputs the data via USB to an Arduino, which controls and updates a servo controller.
Wires run from the servo controller to each node, which includes two high-torque servo motors (x, y axes), which cause the node’s spine to bend in a particular direction, giving it movement. The skin is composed of a lightweight vinyl which has a skin-like texture to help keep the balance between the synthetic and the organic.